District plans safety, repair projects

— The Okanogan School District plans to whittle away at a number of safety and repair projects using money in its reserve fund.

The projects were re-prioritized and reduced from a list compiled last year before the district asked voters to approve a $1.15 million bond issue. The measure was turned down twice, in February and April 2013.

The school board decided to regroup and do some of the more pressing projects anyway. Others will be done as money becomes available.

“We will use money from our reserves, but not go below 5 percent,” Superintendent Richard Johnson told the board during its Oct. 23 meeting.

Under district policy, it keeps 5 percent of its budget amount in reserve in case of emergency, cash flow problems or an unexpected drop in student numbers.

As of Oct. 23, the district had 8.4 percent of the budget, or $927,624, in its reserve fund. If all the projects were done, at an estimated cost of nearly $290,000, the district would be left with about 6.3 percent in reserve. That’s about $143,416 above this year’s 5 percent reserve goal of $552,279.

“Because the project estimates are about two years old, there should still be enough money to get the projects completed, even if the actual costs are higher than the estimated costs, and keep within the district’s goal of 5 percent,” Johnson said.

A facilities committee, made up of Johnson, board members Rae Jean Kelley and Kory Heindselman, principals Dean Radke, Brett Baum and Bob Shacklett, and Maintenance/Grounds Supervisor Dan Stout, reviewed the projects and prioritized them.

The original 72 projects were narrowed to 21 “that need to be addressed for safety reasons or to prevent further wear and tear or damage to district property,” the district said.

Plans call for whittling away at the list this school year.

Topping the list is installing a truss to shore up the kitchen roof in the secondary building. The project is expected to cost $27,500.

Some of the projects will have to wait until spring or summer, board members said.

In priority order, other projects and their estimated costs include:

• Replace/repair roofs in the district office, bus garage and secondary campus portable building, $45,000.

• Paint district office and bus garage, $17,200.

• Patch and seal coat asphalt areas district-wide, $4,000.

• Replace/repair sidewalk and curbing along South Fifth Avenue next to the middle school north field, $32,500.

• Replace worn curbing, build up the track and add two inches of red rock, $34,325.

• Demolish a district-owned house and level the lot at South Fifth Avenue and Queen Street, $26,000.

• Replace middle school gym bleachers, $35,243.

• Purchase a backpack vacuum, $500.

• Purchase carpet extractor for Virginia Grainger Elementary School, $3,500.

• Install snow break/dam on barrel roof of Dawson Gym, $22,500.

• Install light fixture on northeast exterior of middle school, $1,000.

• Install new light fixture on southwest exterior of Virginia Grainger and a pole at the sidewalk, $1,500.

• Install safety ladders on the roof of the secondary building, $14,000.

• Purchase food warmer for kitchen, $2,495.

• Add public address speaker to east side of secondary building so announcements can be heard in the bus loading zone, $1,000.

• Purchase three steam cleaners for custodial staff, $3,147.

• Purchase milk cooler for kitchen at Virginia Grainger, $2,290.

• Install fall protection retainer around play equipment at Virginia Grainger, $5,000.

• Purchase portable bleacher mover for Virginia Grainger gym, $6,643.

• Remove peninsula by kitchen driving circle at Virginia Grainger, $4,500.

In other business, the board:

• Learned the district received its 28th consecutive perfect bus inspection report. The state inspection recognition program started 28 year ago; Okanogan is the only district with a perfect record, Johnson said.

• Set regular board meetings for 6 p.m. the last Wednesday of the month. The board has been meeting the fourth Wednesday of the month.

• Set the next board meeting for 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, in the district office, 115 Rose St. The regular Wednesday meeting date is the day before Thanksgiving.

• Accepted the resignation of Family Empowerment Project worker Deb Christopherson.

• Approved a leave of absence for paraprofessional Becky Selvidge.

• Hired Dennis Ayika as a custodian.

• Hired Julie Ward as a para-educator.

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